Melinda Copel

Melinda Copel holds a doctorate in dance from Temple University and certification in Elementary Labanotation from the Dance Notation Bureau. She has taught dance to children and adults for over twenty years, and she currently teaches and directs the Dance A.A. Program at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Copel has studied a broad range of dance styles including modern dance at the Martha Graham School and ballet at the Finis Jhung School of Ballet in New York City. She has performed with several dance companies and independent choreographers in Vermont and Massachusetts including Dana Holby, Patricia Wilson and Dancers, New Dance Theater, and Ray Evans Dance, Inc. While in Vermont, she continued her studies in choreography and performance at Smith College, and she performed in a reconstruction of Doris Humphrey’s Shakers (restaged by Helen Priest Rogers.) She performed in Yvonne Rainer’s “Chair/Pillow Dance” from Continuous Project Altered Daily (restaged by Pat Catterson) in 2009 and in David Dorfman’s Light Shelter with AXIS Dance Company in 2010. Copel’s articles and reviews have been published in Choreography and Dance, Wesleyan University Press’s Studies in Dance History series, Dance Research Journal, the Pennsylvania Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance and the Philadelphia Dance Alliance Newsletter, and she has been invited to speak at Temple University, Drexel University, and the Kaatsbaan International Dance Center. Her research examines the State Department’s use of modern dance as part of its cultural propaganda campaign during the Cold War. She worked on the National Dance Education Organization’s Research in Dance Education project and served as research consultant for the video documentary Limón: A Life Beyond Words which aired on PBS’s American Masters series. Copel directed and choreographed for Escape Velocity Dance Theater at Ursinus College, and she founded and currently directs and choreographs for the Dance Performance Ensemble at Montgomery County Community College. She received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the restaging of Yvonne Rainer’s “Chair/Pillow Dance” from Continuous Project Altered Daily, which was performed at Montgomery County Community College in 2009. She lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania during the academic year and in Lubec, Maine in the summer with her husband, Andrew, and their three cats, Simon, Zoe, and Princess Leia.


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